“While Krishna was going to the fruit vendor very hastily, most of the grains He was holding fell. Nonetheless, the fruit vendor filled Krishna’s hands with fruits, and her fruit basket was immediately filled with jewels and gold.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.11.11)
Question: “I understand that bhakti-yoga is devotional service. They say that this person is a bhakta of this god or that god, but as you’ve since told me, I know that real bhakti can only be towards Vishnu or one of His non-different expansions, vishnu-tattva. Vishnu is the chief god, and He is the only one who sometimes denies requests. He looks out for the devotee’s interests. Bhakti-yoga is the culmination of all yoga practice, but how are you supposed to tell that you’re giving enough devotion? What is the indication that you’ve satisfied Vishnu sufficiently?”
There is one God. In a particular region, He goes by a particular name, and in another region the name is different. One group has their method of approaching Him and another group takes a different route. Still, there is only one Supreme Controller. In Sanskrit He is described as Vishnu, which means all-pervading. Vishnu is also a personality; He has a specific form. Based on several Vedic texts like the Shrimad Bhagavatam and Brahma-samhita, we learn that Vishnu’s original form is Krishna. The personalities are identical, but the interaction is a little different with Krishna. When bhakti specifically goes to Him, there is a way to tell if He is satisfied.
Vishnu has four hands. He holds a club, a disc, a lotus flower, and a conch shell. The conch and the lotus are symbols of peace. The disc and the club are for punishment, but when God works the result is the same regardless of the instrument used. His punishing of the evil is as blissful to the devotee as His carrying a beautiful flower. Devotion to Vishnu is typically in shanta-rasa, or the mellow of neutrality. There is some awe and reverence involved. With awe there is some fear. The devotee loves God, but there is fear of His becoming angry at them. There is also concern over worshiping Him improperly.
Krishna has two hands. Not that He is limited; He can do anything with each body part. His two hands that are visible to us hold His flute that plays the most beautiful music we’ll ever hear. Devotion to Krishna can be in moods of affection that reach all the way up to conjugal love. That rasa is madhurya, or sweetness. If you have sweet affection for Krishna, He can reciprocate through something as basic as the smile on His face.
He also does not hold the flute in His hands all the time. Sometimes He puts the flute in His belt and playfully walks around. This allows Him to travel here and there and delight others in a variety of ways. He lives in the spiritual land of Vrindavana, and sometimes He comes to the Vrindavana located in this world.
One time in the earthly Vrindavana a fruit vendor came to Krishna’s home. At the time, the Lord was showing the form of a small child. He saw the fruit vendor and immediately went to get some grains. He knew that this was the method of exchange. He would give some grains and get some fruits back.
Unfortunately, most of the grains fell while Krishna was running. He only had a few left to give by the time He reached His destination. The vendor did not care. She had bhakti for Krishna. Her mood was not awe. She did not revere the young child. She was not afraid of Him. Rather, she was worried about turning Him away empty-handed. She took the few grains and gave Him a handful of fruits in return. Krishna then magically transformed the remaining fruits in her basket into jewels.
Though she was ready to take a huge loss, she ended up profiting so much. She did not ask Krishna to change her fruits into jewels. She did not expect this of Him. If she lost out by giving Him so many fruits, it was okay by her. Her mood was to see Krishna happy; to bask in the sweetness of His smile. Through her attitude she teaches that the way to practice bhakti-yoga to Krishna is to always keep His hands full.
How can we do that if we can’t see Him right now? Isn’t it bad to burden Him in this way? Will Krishna be able to carry so many fruits? Doesn’t He already give us so much?
Indeed, we get way more than a few tiny grains from Krishna today. He gives us parents to care for us during childhood. He gives us schooling to help sharpen our intelligence. He gives us food, grains and milk to survive. He provides rain to allow the grains to grow. He passes down dharma, a system to govern behavior, to help us eventually reach the point of bhakti-yoga.
If we are really fortunate and if we are truly seeking His association, He sends someone our way to help us reach Him. That special person tells us that in this dark age of quarrel and hypocrisy we should keep Krishna occupied by always chanting His names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The fruit vendor would not let Krishna leave empty-handed. In the same way, with all that He has already given us, we should not allow the darling child of mother Yashoda to leave our association without taking something. Let Him take His fill of the sounds of His names repeated regularly. Let Him feast on the offerings we make daily to His deity form which happily resides in our home. Let Him take pleasure in the discourses we have with others about His name, fame, pastimes, and form. Let Him never think that we forget Him. By following this line, just like the fruit vendor we’ll have a valuable possession turn into gold: our consciousness.
From bhakti-yoga purified to be,
But how results of our work to see?
How Krishna’s satisfaction to know,
So that enthusiasm in service will grow?
Path shown by fruit vendor in Vrindavana place,
On how to keep smile on Lord’s shining face.
Though grains in transit to her were lost,
Filling His lotus hands, not worrying over the cost.
Krishna having hands to stretch far and wide,
So with our offerings keep Him always occupied.
Categories: the fruit vendor